Let’s be completely honest here: There are certain areas of life where you just aren’t going to take advantage of customer support and in most areas you never want to have to. Ideally, online backup should fall into that first category. It is meant to be an automatic process that you don’t really have to interact with very much past the initial setup. On the other hand, it’s there for emergencies and in those scenarios all bets are off. Even if it’s only because you’re panicking because your computer just exploded, you may want some help.
Keep in mind that you don’t always need a personal representative of the company to tell you what to do. A lot of online backup providers have very good FAQ sections that are easily searchable by keyword. The video tutorials tend to be more helpful when you’re getting things set up or want to change your options and settings. The new cool thing is customer support on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. The idea is that customer support representatives will monitor these accounts and answer questions but you can also find other users to interact with who may have encountered the same problem you’re having or may have a question that you can answer. Keep in mind however, that even if your company has one of these communities, it won’t be very helpful if it’s inactive. Before you start relying on that for information, check the dates on the last few posts to see how recent they are.
If none of those work, it’s time to move on to getting in touch with an actual person. A few online backup providers have a phone number to call and a few more offer live chat but the most common way of getting in touch is via email. That means that you can’t be sure what the response time will be. There is no norm, so be sure to check out reviews to find out who’s the best.
When you’re moving to a new home you’re forced to consider exactly how much stuff has been piling up in the back of closets and in boxes under your desk. It may not have made a different to you yet but now that’s just more stuff that you’re going to need to pack up and find a space for in your new place. Or else leave it on the street corner an hour before the movers arrive and hope that your trash is someone else’s treasure.
Well, it’s no different on your computer. If you’re getting a new computer or starting to back up your files (which you should be doing already anyway) you’ll have to start considering how much space you want and how much of your data you really need. Let’s focus here on how much space you’ll want when you’re starting to backup your data. Of course, that depends if you’re using an external hard-drive or an online backup service. Online backup is a small monthly expense, whereas an external hard drive has a larger one-time cost. So if you’ve bought a hard-drive once you don’t want to do it again anytime soon. That’s why it makes sense to invest in a larger one than you need. As your stuff inevitably accumulates, you don’t want to be stuck having to pick and choose which of your documents and photos will be protected and which will be left sitting on the street corner.
The decision is somewhat different with online backup. Because it’s a monthly plan, you can always upgrade if you see that your saved data is growing faster than you expected. Most online backup providers include 75GB of storage in a basic home plan and much larger amounts for a business plan. However, there are also some who offer home based users a variety of options ranging from 25GB to 150GB.Your best bet is to check how much data your computer is storing now and then round up. Make sure you’ve gotten a little bit more storage space than you strictly need and remember that you can always get more later.
The whole idea of switching to online backup is that it should be safer and easier than bothering with backing up your data on disks or an external hard drive. But if it’s not going to do that for you, then there’s not much point, is there?
That’s why it’s important to know some of the basics about how to choose your online backup service before you get started. There are a number of factors to consider and no provider that is universally the best. So here’s some of the stuff to look at:
1. Security- Whether you’re storing financial records or years and years worth of family photos, the loss of your data would be pretty devastating, which is of course why you’re backing it up in the first place. The security measures taken by most of the reputable online back-up services are more than enough, and so while this is the most important thing, it rarely becomes a factor in your choice.
2. Price- This will probably be a lot more relevant. Unlike an external hard-drive, which is a one-time cost, online backup is a monthly expense and so the price can really add up over the years. Fortunately, there are a range of costs depending on which company you choose, how much information you want to back up and what other features and assistance you might want. So don’t just choose the cheapest service but make sure to know what’s important to you so that you don’t end up paying for more than you need.
3. Ease of Use- Most online backup programs will do an automatic backup once a day, so slight differences in the interface shouldn’t really impact your convenience too much. Mostly, the navigation and ease of use will be important when something goes wrong. You don’t want to be dealing with a clumsy system when you’re already in a panic about your computer crashing.
4. Customer Support- This is a similar factor to what’s above. You shouldn’t need to contact customer support unless something goes wrong. However, since online backup is there specifically for the times when something has gone wrong, good customer support is important. Make sure that the company’s website provides lots of information that you can easily find on your own and check out how accessible their support representatives are.
5. Features- For most people, the basic daily backup is what’s important. But if your computer is vulnerable or the documents you’re working on are particularly important, you may want to backup more frequently. Or you may want to choose specific information to take special care of. These kinds of options are definitely available, but aren’t universal. Check out multiple backup providers to get ideas of what kind of features you think might be particularly helpful to you, especially if you’re looking for an additional factor to help you choose between services that are otherwise equal.
As my trusty laptop of many years begins to develop new quirks and habits in the winter of its life, I’m starting to consider the possibility that it could one day just die. It’s been known to happen. And while I back it up periodically on an external hard drive, I certainly don’t do it as often as I should and therefore I’m starting to feel strongly that it’s time I bit the bullet and began online backup.
In case this is something you’re unfamiliar with, it is exactly what it sounds like: It creates a backup of all of your computers files and folders into The Cloud. And while for most purposes, copying your data to disks or an external hard drive works just as well, there are some major advantages to using online backup instead.
First of all, you don’t have to remember to do it. For those of us who still sometimes forget to brush our teeth in the morning, this is not a trivial matter. Most online backup programs automatically refresh their backed up data once a day and some do it even more frequently as you make changes to your files. Plus you can set manually set up additional backups to run whenever you want without having to plug in the external hard drive. This of course also leads to a less cluttered desk and fewer wires hanging around.
The fact that you aren’t relying on a physical object that sits next to your computer also means that you have much higher security. Many of the things that would destroy the files you have saved on the computer are things that will also mean the loss of an external hard-drive, such a fire, flooding or theft. This is especially true since you are likely to store your computer and your external hard drive close together for the sake of convenience and to help you remember to back up your data.
The biggest downside to online backup is probably price. Rather than the one-time price of an external hard drive you will be paying a monthly fee that can really add up over time. However, consider it insurance. For the sake of my financial records, my work documents and my years and years worth of family photos (which I’ve never printed out or done anything with) I think that it’s worth it.
Ever worry about losing all your files and pictures that are on your computer or mobile device? You are not alone. Millions of people are constantly worrying about their system’s crashing. They tell themselves they will go buy another flash drive to back up their information; or better yet they’ll spend a fortune on a portable hard drive. But then what happens when you have a file saved on your desktop but you are out of town and need that file on your laptop? Hope you remembered to email yourself that file! Now there is a solution to help you avoid this complicated mess. It’s called Dropbox. This online storage solution allows you to sync your files online and across your computer automatically.
How Does it Work?
All you need to do is save your files and pictures to a Dropbox folder on one computer and the files will appear automatically on any other computer that has Dropbox installed. Dropbox is also available for Smartphones so your files will appear on your phone as well. Also, all your files are available online at dropbox.com.
There are some really cool features that come with Dropbox. First of all, you get 2GB of free storage. If you want more you will have to pay a fee for a maximum of 100GB. They also run promotions for free storage giveaway. For every customer you refer, you get 250MB of extra space totally free!
Dropbox can sync a file of any size and any type. That means no more endless waiting for your email to upload a huge file before sending. Say for example you are editing a document in your Dropbox folder, as soon as you press the save button, Dropbox will automatically save that file and all its changes throughout all your computers and phones. This way there is no need to email the file or save it to a flash drive and transfer it to another location.
Undo and Delete
There is this really cool feature called ‘undo and delete’. Every time you save a file in Dropbox, they save every change you make to their servers. In other words, Dropbox keeps a history of every change you made so you can undo any mistakes and even undelete files! There is also an unlimited undo option called “Pack-rat”.
You can also easily share files or photos with others. All you need to do is put the desired files or photo in your Dropbox folder and invite people to see them. You can also send people specific links to files in your Dropbox account. With file sharing you can allow several people to view a file, control who has access to your folders, see other people’s changes instantaneously and automatically create shareable photo galleries out of regular folders.
Dropbox backs up your files online to their servers without you having to do a thing! This way if every one of your computers burns down, you will still be able to access your files straight form their website.
Security and Privacy
Dropbox uses military grade encryption methods to transfer and store your data so you never have to be worried about hackers!
Dropbox is very easy to install and use. It provides many features for an online storage solution program. Dropbox is a great way to share and store all your information. Between its reliability, great features and simplicity you should have no doubts about trying this great service.
If you have a home computer that you use for email, research and the occasional Facebooking, you’ve probably never seriously considered investing in a home computer backup system. Even if you use your computer for light typing, Excel spreadsheets or storing your children’s homework assignments backing up this information with a home computer backup may not be your first priority. But if it isn’t, perhaps it should be.
It only takes a few moments for a fire to sweep through a house, destroying everything in its path. Likewise, a virus can spread through your computer in minutes, destroying your files, deleting your data or corrupting your computer beyond repair. And, while nobody enjoys thinking that these things may happen, the reality is that they do happen- and they happen with alarming frequency.
While it may be impossible to protect all of your belongings from a fire or other natural disaster, it is entirely possible to protect your data from being obliterated by a tragedy or virus infiltration. Home data backup can be done entirely electronically, so that even if your physical computer or home is damaged, your data will remain entirely intact.
The great news about online data backup is that some home computer backup can be done for free. iDrive, for example, offers up to 2GB of free storage, which means that if you don’t have too many files, you may be able to store all of your important information for free. But, even if you are like most people and also want to backup your photos and music downloads, you can still enjoy home computer backup for an extremely reasonable price. With few exceptions, storage packages for home data backup can be selected to match your usage, so that you needn’t pay for excessive GBs of storage that you’ll never use. Interestingly, even unlimited home computer backup services can be affordable. Carbonite, for example, offers unlimited storage for around $5/month, which is an extremely reasonable price considering the peace of mind that this home data backup provides.
If you think of home computer backup as insurance, you’ll see that it is a truly important addition to every home computer. Just as you wouldn’t choose to live without homeowner’s (or renter’s) insurance to protect your physical property, you should never live without online data backup to protect your intellectual property. Because even if a computer can be easily replaced, the data stored on it is likely irreplaceable.
Congratulations, you’ve decided to open up a small business! Whether it’s your first foray into the business world or you’re an experienced entrepreneur, you’re probably already thinking about startup expenses and the costs associated with financing a small business. With so many factors to consider, small business finance can be extremely stressful (if not downright overwhelming). Fortunately, there are many new services and technological advances that can keep small business expenses to a minimum. Here are five of our favorites- we hope that they’ll help you launch a successful and financially stable business.
- Virtual Office Services. Most businesses require a voicemail, a fax machine and a telephone plan. They may also require multiple extensions, an auto-attendant (automated “receptionist”), conference calling and other upgraded phone service features. With a virtual office package, all of these services can be purchased for a low monthly fee. If you want to create a professional image without spending a fortune on individual services, a virtual office should be on your list of necessities when financing your small business.
- Do-it-Yourself Websites. These days, every business needs a great-looking website. And, while you can hire an expensive design and programming team, there are also many websites that enable business owners to build their own website at a significantly reduced price. Do-it-yourself websites can support everything from ecommerce platforms to artistic portfolios and can enhance the professionalism of any enterprise.
- Online Backups. The last thing any business owner wants to worry about is losing vital information in a computer crash or chance act of nature. Keeping an online backup is a great way to protect your business’s important information. If your company doesn’t have many files from its inception, you can begin with a free online backup service, and expand to a paid subscription when you’ve amassed enough files. This can be a great way to save money while making sure that your data is protected.
- Reliable accounting. If you’re the creative genius behind your business but aren’t strong in the math department, you’ll need a reliable accountant that can help you keep your facts and figures together. Depending on the scale of your business, you may want to hire an accountant who can explain the necessary processes and filings with you. If, however, you are starting as a solo enterprise, you can take advantage of online accounting software that can keep your books balanced and, hopefully, ensure that your company will become profitable.
- Stationery and printed materials. No matter what type of business you’re in, you’ll probably need some sort of printed materials. Personalized receipts, business cards, and even shopping bags can help a business markedly advance its branding efforts. And yet, while personalized and printed items can be expensive, they don’t have to be. Ordering these items online can save the business owner money and time, as it eliminates the need to travel to and from the printer’s office.
Is there another business expense that you considered a critical when financing your small business? We’d love to hear about it!